Thursday, 1 August 2013

So How Do We Make Healthier Choices?

With so much choice in supermarkets how do you know if what your buying is 'healthy'. How many products are now labeled fat free, low calorie, reduced fat........ Where do you start!

Food labels can be very confusing, how do we know whether 3.4g of saturated fat is ok for us or too much? Who really has the time and knowledge to read every packet of the food they wish to buy? Not many, so recently food companies have started using the traffic light system on food packages. These labels are there to display at a glance whether these foods are 'healthy'. Green is low and good, amber is moderate and ok, and red is considered to be high and bad. It will also often show the % of your daily recommended amounts. There tend to be five nutrients listed using the traffic light system, calories, fat, total sugars, saturated fat and salt.

 Using this diagram as an example you can see that the totals sugars are good, the calories, fat and salt are moderate and the saturated fat is high. I wonder how many people actually use this system to determine what foods they buy.

I tend to stay away from foods that come in packs - I buy fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and grains and make my own meals. They are tastier, more nutritious and I can control the level of salt etc that goes into it, making it healthier.

If I am unable to make my own dishes or I am out an about and I need food I tend to buy salads, sushi and meats. What I have found is that its exceptionally hard when shopping to buy a quick healthy snack, its all fast foods, sandwiches and burger no thank you.

I'm sure you have all heard this but it's true (this applies to more than just food):

Where possible eat natural, one ingredient foods and be creative.

Also beware of products that state 'Low Fat, or 'Reduces Calories' these products are fortified with chemicals that replace sugars and fats so that the foods do not lose their flavour! I will be writing more on this over the next few weeks.

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